Thursday, January 31, 2019

Archduke Rudolf - the latest news.

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 January 31, 1889

The Fremdenblatt, an Austrian newspaper, is reporting that "Crown Prince Rudolf left Vienna on Monday in a Court carriage for Breitenfurth, where a cab was waiting to convey him to Mayerling.  The Crown Prince, however, preferred to walk the distance and did not use the cab.  During the walk he conversed cheerfully with the guests who accompanied him."

The paper's dispatch, which was been published by the New York Times, adds that the Crown Prince and his friends went on a hunting expedition on Tuesday.  After returning to Mayerling,  the Crown Prince "complained of a headache and retired to his room."  He sent a telegram of the palace "stating that he would be unable to attend the imperial dinner which was to be given that evening."

On Wednesday morning, he was awoke before 7 a.m, and "summoned his old servant, Johann, " asking for breakfast to be served at 7:30.  The valet brought his breakfast at the "appointed time" and was "horrified to find the Crown Prince dead in his bed."

The valet rushed out the room to inform Count Hoyos and Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, both of whom hurried to the Crown Prince's room.   Prince Philipp was "overpowered by grief," remained in the bedroom.  Count Hoyos immediately called for a carriage to return to Vienna to inform the Emperpr and Empress.
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 The Count arrived at the Hofburg at 11:30 a.m., and was immediately "ushered into the private study of the Emperor."  Count Hoyos remained with the Emperor for fifteen minutes before the Emperor "hastened to the Empress" to inform her about the death of their son.  She was "greatly shocked, but after a few minutes she was able to control her grief as she accompanied her husband to Crown Princess Stephanie's apartments where she was informed about her husband's death.   Franz Josef and Elisabeth had "great difficulty in dissuading" the Crown Princess from going to Mayerling.

Franz Josef retired to his private apartments until 3:00 p.m,, when he gave the order to bring Rudolf's body back to Vienna.  Rudolf's body was brought to Baden's train station for the final ride back to Vienna. The train left the station at 12:20 this morning.   Those already in the station were asked to quietly leave.

The Grand Master of the Imperial Household, Prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst arrived at at 12:34. The funeral train arrived at the station fifteen minutes later.   The coffin, covered in a velvet pall, was placed in a carriage driven by six horses, for the procession to the Hofburg,, where a large crowd had already gathered.
The coffin was then taken to the late Crown Prince's apartments.

The Crown Princess was the first to place a wreath on her husband's coffin.  She was followed by her daughter, young Archduchess Elisabeth, who "brought a wreath of moss roses entwined with white ribbons."

The Emperor's elder daughter, Archduchess Gisela and her husband Prince Leopold of Bavaria,  arrived at the Hofburg earlier today.  They were met at the railroad station by a grieving Emperor.

An autopsy will take place tonight, after which the body will be embalmed.'

Franz Josef saw his son for the last time on Sunday night at the German Embassy in honor of German Emperor Wilhelm II.

All the members of the Imperial family are now in Vienna or are on their way.

The Neue Freie Press has been confiscated "for publishing a report that the Crown Prince had been shot at Mayerling."

In London, the Prince of Wales paid his respects at the Austrian Embassy.  He plans to go to the funeral, but will respect the Emperor's "desire for a private funeral."

It is being reported in Paris that Rudolf "was shot by the husband of a lady who was staying at Mayerling."

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Archduke Rudolf is dead

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 January 30, 1889

The New York Times and other newspapers are reporting the death of Archduke Rudolf of Austria, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian thrones.

The Archduke, according to the New York Times' London reporter, "was found dead in bed this morning and it is still a matter of uncertainty here  how he died."

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The first reports from Vienna hinted at a "fatal accident in the hunting field," but an Italian official in London has received "a telegram in cipher from Rome," that Rudolf "was shot by a forester whom he wrong."

Later dispatches from Vienna, differ to the locality where the Archduke died, but now all agree that he "was found dead in bed this morning by his valet."

The late archduke, who was the only son of Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth, was a close friend of the Prince of Wales.  Plans for a "long visit" next May were made by him during the Prince of Wales' most recent visit to Vienna.

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Archduke Rudolf was until recently "regarded as a Prince of exceeding promise."  He was described as a "great linguist, an excellent musician and wrote easily and well," and he was married to the one of the "prettiest and sweetest Princess in Europe." 

The couple were very popular and throughout the empire, Archduke Rudolf "shared to the full the great affection his father is held in."

More recently, however,  Austrians have noticed changes to Rudolf.  He "quarreled with his wife," and the public sided with Archduchess Stephanie.  The "tone of associations visibly sank and painful stories of his habits and doings began to be circulated.

It was also noticed by many that his health severely declined.  The Times' reporter noted that last March, the last time he had seen the archduke, Rudolf's face was pale and sallow, "a shrunken face shrouded in black side whiskers and a mustache."   He was also "prematurely bald."

There were also suggestions of poor health.  The reporter said he was told that Rudolf had suffered from epilepsy, the "hereditary curse of the Habsburgs.

Archduke Rudolf leaves behind his widow, Archduchess Stephanie, the daughter of King Leopold II of the Belgians, and a six-year-old daughter, Archduchess Elisabeth.  As the succession to the throne is semi-Salic, which means that all of the eligible male Habsburgs precede Elisabeth, the new heir to the throne is Archduke Karl Ludwig, who is not a "notable or popular man."

The Associated Press is reporting that the Crown Prince died at Mayerling and his death has been attributed to apoplexy.

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The Official Gazette states: "Fate has inflicted a crushing blow upon the imperial house and the people of Austria-Hungary.  Our universally esteemed Crown Prince is dead. This deeply-loved son of the Emperor and Empress, the life's happiness of his affectionate spouse, brother of the Archduchesses Gisela and Valerie, the pride of the entire imperial house and the hope of his faithful people in the flower of his youth and fullness of his strengths sinks into an early grave.  With deepest mourning, with hearts brimming with sorrow, the peoples of the empire turn their sorrowful glances toward the throne in hereditary love and fidelity, and join in an earnest prayer that God will granted the imperial family the consolation that mere human words, even when sounding from a million tongues, can scarcely bring."

The Gazette also reports that the Crown Prince went to Mayerling for a shooting excursion and was joined by Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Count Hoyos,  He "felt somewhat indisposed yesterday and excused himself from attending the family dinner party at Hofburg" last night.

His guests became alarmed when he did not join them for breakfast this morning.

Rudolf's valet went to check on him, and found him dead in his bed.  The "shock of the calamity struck the Hofburg like lightning at 6:45 a.m."

The announcement that the heir to the throne died from apoplexy "modified the alarm of the public arising from press rumors that the Prince had been killed while shooting."

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One Austrian newspaper is reporting that Rudolf "had suffered during the last few years of his life from rheumatism of the joints.  Last night he had a severe shivering hit."

Archduke Rudolf's body will be brought back to Vienna, a city now in mourning, tonight.

The Crown Princess was not informed of his death until 1 p.m.  She "showed the wildest grief, passionately clasping her child in her arms."   She wanted to go straight to Mayerling, but court officials "gently dissuaded" her from her wish.

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Archduke Rudolf Franz Karl Josef was the second child and only son.  He was born on August 21, 1858.   He married in Vienna on May 10, 1881 to Princess Stephanie Clotilde Louise Hermine Marie Charlotte of Belgium, daughter of King Leopold II and Archduchess Marie Henriette of Austria.

The marriage was not a happy one, as Stephanie had "complained of neglect."  She and her husband had been living apart for some time, but not too long ago, the Emperor succeeding in affecting a reconciliation between the couple.

Archduke Rudolf was 30 years old.

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Count Belevsky sues Grand Duke Wladimir for father's estate

January 30, 1909

The death of Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovich in Paris two months ago has led to a "rather disagreeable complication" concerning the claim of Count Alexis Belevsky, who is the late Grand Duke's son.

The late Grand Duke had left instructions in writing that Count Belevsky be given the bulk of his estate.  His writings make it clear that the Count  was his son.

Count Belevsky has been forced to file suit to gain his inheritance, but the "prospect of success does not seem too great," reports the Los Angeles Times, as the late Grand Duke's family is resisting the action.

It was at the time of Grand Duke Alexis' death that the news of his natural son was made public.   His mother was  Countess Alexandra Vasilievna
 Zhukovskaya, who was a maid of honor at the Russian Court.   She died in 1899.

Alexis was born in Salzburg on November 26, 1871.  He was given his mother's surname until 1884, when Alexander III, who was Grand Duke Alexis' older brother, created him as Count Belevsky.

The young count was close to Grand Duke Serge, another uncle, as he married Princess  Maria  Troubetskaya at Serge's country home,  Ilyinskoye, in August 1894. 

The couple have four young children, Countesses Elisabeth, Alexandra, Maria and Count Serge.

Grand Duke Wladimir,  another of Grand Duke Alexis' older brothers, is the executor of his estate, and he refuses to "disgorge a solitary kopek" to Count Alexis has been forced to sue him.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Juan Carlos: Guilt over death of brother

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It was Holy Thursday, 1956, when then Infante Don Juan Carlos begged his mother to allow he and his brother to play with a gun that their father kept in his office.

It was a tragic mistake as Juan Carlos accidentally shot his younger brother, Infante Don Alfonso, who died as a result of the shooting.

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Juan Carlos' discussion of his brother's death is featured in a documentary of the former King's life, "Yo, Juan Carlos, King of Spain, that was made more than five years ago.  The film, which has already been seen in France, is based on an interview between Juan Carlos and French writer, Laurence Debray.

The film had been banned in Spain, but finally, Juan Carlos has agreed to its release.

Juan Carlos was very fond of Alfonsito, as he affectionately called his younger brother. "We were very close.  I loved him very much ... I still miss him very much."

The death of Alfonsito left Juan Carlos severely depressed that took many years to overcome, as the guilt he felt for causing his brother's death was intense.

As a child he was unable to put down roots.  "I was born in Rome and lived in Switzerland before settling in Portugal, there was no sense of nostalgia at home.  We did have many friends and cousins to play with, we loved each other very much and we were close to our parents,"  King Juan Carlos said.

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Juan Carlos had a "very special relationship" with both his parents,  Juan and Mercedes, the Count and Countess of Barcelona.   His father's death in 1993 was particularly painful.  "It was a really hard moment, he was my most faithful ally.  I buried him as a king, as he deserved it.  He dedicated his entire life to Spain.  He sacrificed himself for the good of the country, that is the greatness of the man and I was lucky he was my father."

He denies the reports that Francisco Franco was a mentor.   He was only ten years old when he moved to Spain for his education.   At ten he was "terrified" but "quite impressed" with the dictator.  He had no choice but to accept the move to Spain, leaving his parents behind in Portugal.

"Franco was not my mentor, it was my father, despite the distance."

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The marriage of a Prince and a Grand Duchess

January 23, 1874

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia, only daughter of Emperor Alexander II, were married today at noon in "the presence of a vast assemblage of guests in the Winter Palace," reports the New York Times.

The women were "sumptuously attired," with many of the female guests in Russian costume, "mainly velvet and diamonds."  The men were dressed in inform with the exception of the American ambassador.

The procession began with "grand equerries and Chamberlain's officers of the court," who were followed by Emperor Alexander II and Empress Marie, the Prince and Princess of Wales of Wales, Crown Princes of the German and Danish royal houses, Prince Arthur, the groom's younger brother and the bride and bridegroom.

The Duke of Edinburgh was dressed in a naval uniform.  The bride was "splendidly appareled in a long crimson velvet mantle, trimmed with ermine and wore a diamond coronet."   Her train was carried by four pages.

The Princess of Wales wore a gown of "dark crimson velvet with a diamond coronet and collar and pearl necklace.   The Crown Princess of Prussia was dressed in a similar style.

The Metropolitan head of the Russian church greeted the procession at the church door.  Alexander II escorted the bride and bridegroom to the middle of the church.  He was joined by the Empress as they stood behind the couple.

The wedding rings were carried on golden salvers and placed on the altar.  The "magnificent chapel was illuminated with innumerable wax candles, the floor covered with a velvet crimson and gold carpet, the pillars and altar covered with gold."

The Orthodox ceremony was devoid of music, replaced by "chants and intoned prayers."  Crowns were placed over the heads of the bridal couple. Prince Arthur held the crown over the Duke of Edinburgh.    Grand Duke Serge,  the bride's brother, held the crown over her head.

"Thou servant of God, Alfred Ernest Edward, are crowned for this handmaiden of God, Maria Alexandrovna, in the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost."

Prince Arthur became tired from holding the Crown and looked relieved when he was able to put it down.  The married couple walked three times around the raised dais, "holding to the tip of the confessor's robe and a candle in the other."

At the end of the ceremony, the Sacramental Cup was brought to the couple, where both sipped the wine.  The cross was presented to them, which both kissed.

After the Orthodox service was ended,  a new procession slowly formed, proceeding to the Hall of Alexander for the Anglican service, Dean Stanley of Westminster Abbey officiated at the ceremony.

Grand Duchess Marie stood between her father and the Duke of Edinburgh,  Prince Arthur stood behind them.

Empress Marie, a confirmed invalid, was feeling fatigued during the English service and had to sit down. She was "overcome with emotion, holding her handkerchief to her eyes, when the married couple came to salute her."

There was some criticism of the bridegroom's appearance as his "reserved and solemn manner created an unfavorable impression."  The Prince and Princess of Wales' "affability was cheered" when they arrived at the church.

The two services were followed by a banquet at the palace.  The opera singer, Mme Patti sang for the guests.  These evening a ball, which was attended by the Emperor, was held in St. George's Hall.

The New York Times's reporter noted that there was a "limited display of popular enthusiasm at the illuminations in the public squares."

The new Duchess of Edinburgh is the fifth of seven children.  She was born on October 17, 1853.    The Duke of Edinburgh, who was born on August 6, 1844, is the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria and the late Prince Albert.

[For more information on how this marriage was arranged, please see Merrett Abrash's "A Curious Royal Romance," which was published in 1969 in
The Slavonic and East European Review.

The article is available through JSTOR, which does allow free access to several articles per month.  You also can check to see if your university or public library has the JSTOR database.  The article is also available for purchase.]

Monday, January 21, 2019

Count of Paris (1933-2019)

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HRH Prince Jean, Duke of Vendome, released  the following statement this morning:

"I have the sadness to announce the death of my father, the count of Paris, this morning. I entrust him to your prayers."

HRH The Count of Paris was 85 years old.  He died at his Paris home.

Baptism of Prince Henri  1933

Isabelle, Henri and Helene  (all postcards  Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection)

HRH Prince Henri Philippe Pierre Marie of Orléans was born at Wolwé-Saint Pierre in Belgium on June 14, 1933.  He was the second of eleven children of HRH Prince Henri Robert Ferdinand Marie Louis Philippe of Orléans, Count of Paris, and HRH Princess Isabelle Marie Amélie Louise Victoire Thérèse Jeanne of Orléans and Braganza.

Henri was the heir to the French throne.  The last King of France, Louis Philippe, abdicated in February 1848, in favor of his nine-year-old grandson, Prince Philippe, Count of Paris.   Although France's National Assembly wanted to accept Philippe as the new King,  the French people were against the establishment of a new king.    The Second Republic was proclaimed on February 26, 1848.  Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was elected President of the Republic in December 1848.  Three years later, he proclaimed himself as President for Life.  In 1852, Napoleon became Emperor as Napoleon  III.

[Napoleon III was forced into exile in 1870 after France's loss in the Franco-Prussian war.]

The Count of Paris was the great-great-great-grandson of King Louise Philippe.

Members of the former French royal house had lived in exile since 1886 when the then French government passed a law that forbade members of the royal houses to live or even visit France.  This law was abrogated in 1950.

Henri's father, Prince Henri, succeeded his father, HRH Prince Jean, Duke of Guise in August 1940, as head of the royal house.   Prince Henri became dauphin, as the heir apparent.  In 1957, his father gave him the title Count of Clermont.

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The young prince lived a peripatetic early as he spent his early years in several countries.  His early childhood was spent in Belgium but after the outbreak of the second world war,  Henri and his family moved to Rabat, Morocco.  In 1946, the settled briefly in Pamplona, Spain, before moving to Sintra, Portugal, where the Count of Paris bought a farm, where his wife and daughters milked the cows and he and his sons tended sheep.  After the Law of Exile was overturned, the Count of Paris and his family moved to France.

It has been suggested that Henri's father and President Charles de Gaulle helped to arrange Henri's marriage to  HRH Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg in order to "help salve the bitterness" between Germany and France.

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De Gaulle described the wedding as "a great national event."  He was a "royalist at heart," and he told the late Count of Paris that he supported the restoration of the monarchy.  "You have three years to get ready: I will not run for a second term."  But De Gaulle dashed the Count's hopes and dreams a decade later when he informed the Count that "France is not ready for royalty."

The marriage took place on July 5, 1957.  They would have five children before getting a divorce in 1984.  The couple had long been estranged.

In 1979,  Henri's father gave an interview to the French magazine, Paris Match. He claimed that his five sons were "indifferent to their heritage and had no royal ambitions."

The late Count of Paris said:  "My eldest son lives in a way which I regret and which is perfectly idle.  He has a charming wife and five children, two of whom are handicapped.  I don't criticize him for living with someone else, but one does not abandon one's family, especially sick children."

Henri's eldest son, Prince Francois, and second daughter, Princess Blanche, were born mentally handicapped as the Countess of Clermont had contracted toxoplasmosis during both pregnancies.

The Count of Clermont was already involved with a Spanish aristocrat Micaela Cousiño y Quinones de Léon before his marriage was ended.  When the Count of Clermont chose to marry Micaela in a civil marriage in October 1984 without his father's consent,  Count of Paris, who had lived apart from his wife for many years due to his infidelities, issued a statement about his son's status due to his second marriage.

The Count of Paris stripped his son of the title of Count of Clermont, stating that he would now be styled as Count of Mortain, a non-royal title.  The younger Henri also lost his position as Dauphin.

Family tensions continued.   Henri learned of his eldest daughter, Marie's engagement to Prince Gundakar of Liechtenstein when he received a hand-delivered letter from his former wife, Princess Marie Therese, Duchess of Montpensier.   Marie Therese had been given the ducal title by her father-in-law at time of her divorce.

Marie, who had not seen her father in more than three years, also wrote to him with the news that he would be invited to the wedding.

This marriage would cause further estrangement within the family.  The Duchess of Montpensier sent out the invitations in her name only,  openly choosing to exclude her former husband and her former father-in-law, who had given permission for the marriage.   Shortly before the civil and religious weddings were to take place,  Henri learned that he would not be giving his daughter away.   This led to a joint statement from the Count of Paris and his son as both were angered by Marie's decision to marry at Friedrichshafen Castle, the home of her maternal grandparents, and not a Dreux. where French royal wedding usually -- but not always -- take place.

Princess Marie told reporters: "It's the castle that I have been happiest and only there will I be married."

The Count of Paris and Henri (who had never used the title Count of Mortain) decided to boycott the wedding celebrations.  They were joined by all but one of Henri's siblings.  Princess Diane, who was married to the Duchess of Montpensier's brother, the Duke of Württemberg, attended the wedding with her mother the Countess of Paris.

It was not until March 1991 when the Count of Paris restored Henri's title, Count of Clermont, and his position as heir apparent.  Micaela was given the title Princess of Joinville.

The Count of Paris died on June 19, 1999.  Henri succeeded as head of the family and assumed the title Count of Paris and Duke of France.  His wife, Micaela, was styled as Duchess of France until after the death of Henri's mother, Isabelle, in July 2003.

Before his death, the late Count of Paris told his children: "I will leave you nothing but hate."

The Telegraph reported that the late Count "died in almost ostentatious poverty, at home in the poky suburban house he shared with his mistress, a former nurse."

Henri inherited very little money from his father who had depleted the family fortune.  In 1993,  seven of the late Count of Paris' surviving nine children had taken him to court to prevent him from selling the family's silver.  They also sought a court order to stop him from selling furniture and jewels, worth more than $3.6 million, at a Sotheby's auction.

The new head of the house "swallowed his pride" by allowing his name to be used for commercial purposes, including the sale of several lines of perfume.

"What did I inherit from my father?  The memory of a few smiles," he told a reporter not long after the Count of Paris' death.

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The new Count of Paris, in an interview with the European Royal History Journal in 2001, discussed the legitimacy of his claim as head of the House of France.

"We are the legitimate House of France, of that there is no doubt.  I hold the moral power as head of my family and the representative of the monarchist tradition in France.  The law of exile, for example, did not apply to our Spanish cousins, it was directed against us, the family which the French nation and political establishment accepted as the House of France. There are those who would like to manipulate this moral power for their own gain.  Young Luis Alfonso has fallen victim to these people who are more interested in achieving political and financial power, than in the restoration of monarchy.  These unscrupulous groups know they cannot manipulate me, hence they found another person to control."

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By 2003,  the Count of Paris and his wife were living in a three-room apartment in Paris, surviving on a "meagre income, stemming mostly from his sponsorship of an aftershave and the sale of his watercolours."

"At the dawn of the 21st century, although I am the eldest prince of the Orléans family, one of the richest families in Europe 40 years ago, and the heir to the dynasty of French kings, including the Sun King himself, I can hang my hat in none of the palaces or chateaux which belonged to my ancestors," he said in an interview, listing the Palais-Royal, the Hotel Matignon and the chateaux at Chantilly and Saint-Cloud as the former residences.

"This list of our former possessions is now of no more than anecdotal interest.  I live free of nostalgia in an ordinary little flat in a modern building in Paris, " Said in a 2003 interview.

At age 70, he "developed belated political ambitions," and wanted to use his "hereditary role as a national leader."

"It's my turn.  The stage is lit for a shy man's one-man show.  The tortoise may not catch the hare which has run off with the crown.  Too about the gold and the jewels.  But I will say what I have to say in my own way.  What I see and understand from my unique position."

That same year, France's high court banned Henri and his family from using the same Bourbon because "it had been abandoned by his family in the 17th century."  The Court of Cessation confirmed a lower court ruling in 1999.   Henri had "no proven legitimate interest in reclaiming possession of the name Bourbon."  The court rulings noted that Henri's ancestor,  Prince Philippe, Duke of Orléans (1640-1701), had dropped the Bourbon name.

Henri's first marriage was annulled in 2009, which allowed he and Micaela to be married in a Roman Catholic ceremony in September 2009.

The Count of Paris' daughter-in-law, Princess Philomena, Duchess of Vendome, said  "He had a very beautiful death, a very dignified death. He was dressed to go to a mass in memory of King Louis XVI. He felt weak, sent a text of apology to the organizers of the ceremony."

He is survived by his wife, Micaela, and four of his five children,  HRH Princess Marie (Princess Gundakar of Liechtenstein),  HRH Princess Blanche, HRH Prince Jean, Duke of Vendome,  and HRH Prince Eudes, Duke of Angouleme and twelve grandchildren.

Henri's eldest son, Prince Francois, died in December in 2017.

 He is also survived by seven of his siblings:  HRH Princess Isabelle, Countess of Schönborn-Buchheim,  HRH Princess Helene, Countess of Limburg-Stirum, HRH Princess Anne, Dowager Duchess of Calabria, HRH Princess Diane, Duchess of Württemberg, HRH Prince Michael, Count of Everux,  HRH Prince Jacques, Duke of Orléans, HRH Princess Claude,  and HRH Princess Chantal, Baroness de Sambucy-Sorgue.

The Duke of Vendome succeeds as head of the family.   His eldest son, Prince Gaston, becomes the Dauphin, but the Duke of Vendome is not expected to adopt the Count of Paris title for several months.

Funeral details have not been announced but it is expected that the late Count of Paris' funeral will take place in Dreux.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Prince John (1905-1919)

One hundred years ago today -- January 18, 1919 -- HRH Prince John of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, died at Wood Farm, near Sandringham.  Prince John, the youngest child of King George V and Queen Mary, suffered from epilepsy.  He was thirteen years old when he died.

Prine John was never hidden away. He did spend the last two years of his life with his nurse, Lalla, at Wood Farm.  Queen Mary arranged for local children to visit him and Prince George, the brother closest in age, often came down from York Cottage to visit him. 

My article on Prince John will be published in a forthcoming issue of EuroHistory Journal.

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BREAKING Prince Philip unharmed in car crash

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Buckingham Palace released a statement about the Duke of Edinburgh who was involved in a road accident around 4 p.m.  A local radio station noticed that a car "had been left on its side following a crash on the A149."   The accident took place near Sandringham.

The car was a Range Rover and had been driven by 97-year-old Prince Philip.

Buckingham Palace said that the Duke was pulling out of a driveway and onto the A149 road,  when the accident took place.

The crash caused the Range Rover to turn over.   Eyewitnesses were able to help the Duke of Edinburgh out of the car.  He was, according to the BBC's Nicholas Witchell, "conscious but very shocked and shaken."

The Duke of Edinburgh is now back at Sandringham House and has been treated by a doctor.   He passed a breathalyzer test as did the driver of the other car.

Two other people in the crash were not seriously injured.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The funeral of Count Philippe de Lannoy

The funeral of the late Count Philippe de Lannoy, the father of Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg, took place today at Frasnes-Lez-Anvaing in Belgium. Count Philippe died on January 11 at the age of ninety six. He married in 1965 to Alix della Faille de Leverghem, who died on August 27, 2012, at the age of 70. The Count is survived by eight children and 22 grandchildren. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie is the youngest of the eight children. She married the Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume in November 2012. Mourners at the funeral included Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg, Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg, Prince Louis of Luxembourg, as well as members of the Count's family including his children and grandchildren.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Prince Philip moving closer to longest living QVD

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 Prince Philip will soon become the longest living descendant of Queen Victoria.

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 The current titleholder is HRH Princess Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline of Albany, who was born at Windsor Castle on February 25, 1883, the first of two children of HRH Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, eighth of nine children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and Princess Helene of Waldeck und Pyrmont.

The Duke of Albany, a hemophiliac,  died at Cannes on March 28, 1884, following a fall.    The Duchess of Albany was expecting a second child at the time.  She gave birth posthumously to a son, Charles, Edward, on July 19, 1884.  The infant prince succeeded immediately to his father's peerages.

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Princess Alice married HSH Prince Alexander of Teck, her second cousin once removed,  at St. George's Chapel on February 10, 1904. Following her marriage, the princess was styled as HRH Prince Alexander of Teck.

The second cousin once removed relationship is due to their descent from George III's granddaughters,   Queen Victoria (daughter of the Duke of Kent) and Mary Adelaide (daughter of the Duke of Cambridge), who were first cousins.   Prince Leopold and Prince Alexander were second cousins, thus making Alice and Alexander second cousins once removed.

Alexander's older sister, Mary, was married to Alice's first cousin, King George V.  This meant that Alice and George were in-laws as well as first cousins.

In 1917,  Alexander, with other collateral members of the British royal family, who had German titles (and who were not affected by the George V's July 17, 1917 declaration establishing the House of Windsor and the renouncement of all German titles) .  He and his family relinquished the Teck princely title and the style of Serene Highness.  George V created Alexander as Earl of Athlone and Viscount Trematon.   (His older brother, Adolphus, relinquished his titles, too, and was created Marquess of Cambridge.)

As a Princess of Blood Royal, Alice resume the use of her own as part of her title, HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone.

The family name for Adolphus and Alexander became Cambridge,  as their mother was born a Princess of Cambridge.

Alice and Alexander had three children:  HSH Princess May (Lady May Cambridge (January 26, 1906- May 29, 1994) who married Sir Henry Abel Smith),  HSH Prince Rupert (Viscount Trematon (August 24, 1907-April 15,1928)) and HSH Prince Maurice of Teck  (March 29, 1910- September 14, 1910.)

Princess Augusta

The Earl of Athlone died at Kensington Palace in 1957.   Princess Alice died at Kensington Palace on January 3, 1981 at the age of 97 (and 313 days.)  She was the oldest living blood member of the British Royal Family, having surpassed the record held by her husband's aunt, Princess Augusta of Cambridge, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1822-1916).  Augusta lived for 94 years, 4 months and 16 days.

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 Princess Alice broke the British  record on July 15, 1977.   Although Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother lived longer than Princess Alice, she remains the longest living blood member of the British royal family, as well as the longest living descendant of Queen Victoria.

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HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (now HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh) will tie the  the record on  April 18, 53 days before his own birthday.  The record will be broken on the following day, April 19.

35,741 for Alice and Philip will achieve 35,742 days on April 19, 2019.

Philip will celebrate his his 98th birthday on June 10.

This is a interesting achievement as May 24th will be the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria.
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Thursday, January 10, 2019

New patronages for the Duchess of Sussex

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Kensington Palace announced this morning the first four patronages for the newest member of the British royal family, the Duchess of Sussex.

Two of the patronages, the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities were passed to the Duchess by Queen Elizabeth, who has been the patron for the past 45 and 33 years, respectively.  The other two charities are the Mayhew Trust, an animal welfare charity, and Smart Works, which helps " long term unemployed and vulnerable women regain the confidence they need to succeed at job interviews, return to employment and transform their lives."

Mayhew released a statement this morning after Kensington Palace's announcement.
"We are honoured to reveal that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex has become Patron of Mayhew, as announced by Kensington Palace earlier this morning.
Her Royal Highness’ Patronages reflect the causes and issues she has spent decades championing, including female empowerment, the arts, access to education and animal welfare.
We are incredibly proud to reflect the values that The Duchess supports, and are delighted that HRH has selected Mayhew as one of her four newly announced Patronages.  We very much look forward to working closely with HRH to focus even more public attention on animal welfare, and the ground-breaking work Mayhew does in the local community and overseas."

Some months ago I had tweeted and/or wrote that I thought at least one of her first patronages would be arts related.  I didn't consider that the Queen would suggest one of her own patronages, the National Theatre, which started in 1963, but I think that the Queen knew what she was doing when she decided to pass on this stellar and prestigious patronage. 

The four patronages are focused on the arts, community, empowerment and animal welfare.  Sienna and Harper hope that the Duchess will adopt a cat from the Mayhew Trust, when she visits them later this week.

Four excellent patronages to begin a royal career.  Of course, there will be more patronages added in the months and years to come, perhaps a regiment or two, as well. 

It is apparent that Her Majesty the Queen has great faith in the Duchess of Sussex's ability to communicate effectively as a patron.  In case you do not realize it,  passing on the patronage of the National Theatre is a VERY BIG DEAL.  

The National Theatre is one of the two premiere theater companies in the United Kingdom.  The Royal Shakespeare Company is the other.  The Queen is also the patron of the RSC and the Prince of Wales is its president.

I am envious of the Duchess' National Theatre patronage.  Yea, she gets to support British theater and she will get to see any play she wants to for free!!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

What was George V thinking?

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On November 30, 1917,  King George V issued a Letters Patent that limited and redefined royal titles, thus limiting the size of the Royal Family.

The Letters Patent was published in the London Gazette on December 14, 1917.

"Whitehall, 11th December, 1917.
The KING has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, bearing date the 30th ultimo, to define the styles and titles to be borne henceforth by members of the Royal Family. It is declared by the Letters Patent that the children of any Sovereign of the United Kingdom and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour; that save as aforesaid the titles of Royal Highness, Highness or Serene Highness, and the titular dignity of Prince and Princess shall cease except those titles already granted and remaining unrevoked; and that the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes."

This Letters Patent limited the title Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (now Northern Ireland) to the children of the Sovereign, the grandchildren of the Sovereign in the male line, and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (the heir apparent).

This meant that great-grandchildren in the male line would no longer be titled as Prince or Princess with the rank of Highness, which had been the case.  In fact, no previous Letters Patent had limited royal titles in the male line although, only the children of the Sovereign, the grandchildren in the male line, and the children of the eldest son the Prince of Wales were entitled to Royal Highness.  Other great-grandchildren in the male line (and further down, as was the case of the descendants in the male line of King Ernst August of Hanover,  Duke of Cumberland, the 5th son of King George III, had the style of Highness and title of Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

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 In February 1864,  Queen Victoria issued a Letters Patent that gave the HRH to the children of the Sons of the Sovereign.   This meant that the children of the Prince of Wales and the Dukes of Edinburgh, Connaught, and Albany would have the style of royal highness.

"Whitehall, Feb. 3.
The Queen has been pleased by letters patent under the Great Seal, to declare her Royal will and pleasure that, besides the children of the Sovereigns of these realms, the children of the sons of any Sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland shall have, and at all times hold and enjoy, the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective christian names, or with their other titles of honour; and further to declare her will and pleasure that the Earl Marshal of England, or his Deputy for the time being, do cause the said letters patent to be recorded in Her Majesty's College of Arms to the end that the officers of arms, and all others, may take due notice thereof."

None of Victoria's immediate predecessors lived long enough to witness the birth of a great-grandchild in the male line.   Victoria's first great-grandchild, Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen, was born shortly before her 60th birth in May 1879, was in the female line.  Feo was the only child of Princess Charlotte of Prussia, the second child of Princess Victoria, Princess Royal, and Friedrich III of Germany.  Victoria was the eldest of Queen Victoria's nine children.

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 The first male line great-grandchild was born on June 23, 1894, and was named Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David.   The infant prince, the eldest child (and son) of Prince George, Duke of York, son of the Prince of Wales, and Princess Mary of Teck.  The infant prince was styled as HH Prince Edward of York.  He was third in line to the throne.

The Duchess of York would give to two more children (Albert (December 14, 1895) and Mary (April 25, 1897) who were styled as Highness, until May 31, 1898, when Victoria issued a new Letters Patent.

"Crown Office, May 31, 1898
The Queen has been pleased by letters patent under the Great Seal, to declare that the children of the eldest son of any Prince of Wales shall have, and at all times hold and enjoy, the style, title, and attribute of "Royal Highness"."

This new Letters Patent established that the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales would also be entitled to the HRH.  Other great-grandchildren would remain styled as Highness, until 1917, when George V issued his Letters Patent.

The caption is not correct.  Alistair was not HRH, but HH.  

The changes were immediate with the new Letters Patent.  His Highness Prince Alistair Arthur of Connaught,  the only child of TRH Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught, who was a great-grandson in the male line, ceased to be a prince.  His mother,  Princess Alexandra (elder daughter of Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife, Princess Royal) was a peeress in her own right, having inherited her father's peerage, the dukedom of Fife by special remainder following his death in 1912.    Three-year-old Alistair would now be styled as the Earl of Macduff, the secondary title for the Fife dukedom, as he was the heir apparent.  He was also second in line for his maternal grandfather, the Duke of Connaught's peerages.

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 The male line Hanover and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha descendants were also affected by this Letters Patent.   The Titles Deprivation Act stripped  HRH Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany, grandson of Queen Victoria, and HRH Prince Ernst August, Duke of Cumberland,  a great-grandson of King George III, of their British peerages.  Charles Edward, who reigned as Carl Eduard of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, did not lose his British princely title as his status as a prince was defined by Letters Patent.

Ernst August, the Duke of Cumberland, was the son of Georg, the last King of Hanover, was a great-grandson of the Sovereign, which meant that he and his male-line descendants were no longer entitled to the title Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.   This was also the case for Carl Eduard's children.

Less than a month before Britain entered World War I,  King George V issued a Letters Patent for the children of the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg.  I find this Letters Patent to be moot because the children were already princes and princesses of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland due to their male line descent from George III.   The Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg was a first cousin of King George V as their mothers were sisters.

The Duchess of Brunswick (Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia) gave birth to a son, Prince Ernst August in  March 1914.

Whitehall, July 15, 1914.
The King has been pleased to declare and ordain that the children born to their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick and Lüneburg shall at all times hold and enjoy the style and attribute of 'Highness' with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names, or with any titles of honour which may belong to them; and that the designation of the said children shall be a Prince (or Princess) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. And to command that the said Royal concession and declaration be registered in His Majesty's College of Arms."

The Titles Deprivation Act applied solely to the peers, not the royal titles, which were governed by Letters Patent.

As the Brunswick children - Ernst August, Georg Wilhelm,  Friederike,  Christian, and Welf Heinrich - were not children of the Sovereign or grandchildren of the Sovereign in the male line, they also lost their British HH and their royal titles.  Some may disagree with this, but the precedence is HH Prince Alistair of Connaught, who was demoted to Earl of Macduff with the surname Windsor, following the 1917 Letters Patent.

[In the 1930s, Ernst August's son,  Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who was married to Kaiser Wilhelm II's only daughter, Princess Viktoria Luise,  issued a non-binding decree that his male-line descendants would continue to be styled as Prince or Princess of Great Britain and Ireland because of their direct male line descent from George III.   It should be noted that King George V nor his successors,  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, have ever challenged that decree.  When Ernst August's son,  Ernst August was married in 1951 to Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein,  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth sent a congratulatory telegram to the couple, addressing them with their British titles.]

Prince Ernst August, the one married to Viktoria Luise, abdicated as Duke of Brunswick in November 1918.

Carl Eduard's male-line descendants dropped the use of the British titles after 1917.

The 1917 Letters Patent has an obvious loophole.  It seems to me that George V did not consider the possibility that there would be a repeat of three heirs in the line of succession as was the case in 1894 with the birth of his son, Edward.  He was the father of three sons and one daughter when he became the heir apparent on January 22, 1901, when Queen Victoria died and was succeeded by her eldest son, Albert Edward, who reigned as Edward VII.

Now let's look at this with a different scenario.  What if the Duke of Clarence and Avondale (the Prince of Wales' eldest son) had not died in January 1892.  His marriage to Princess Mary of Teck would have taken place with great fanfare.  Their eldest son would have been third in line.  There is also no doubt that Queen Victoria would have issued a similar Letters Patent, extending the RH to the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales,  as she did in 1898.

The Duke of York would have married another princess, but their children would have remained styled as Highness until Edward VII succeed to the throne, when they would gain the style of royal highness as grandchildren in the male line of the sovereign.

This is pure speculation on my part as Queen Victoria, knowing that George's children would also be grandchildren of King, could have issued another Letters Patent that extended the RH to all of the male-line grandchildren of the Prince of Wales.

The changes made in the Letters Patent are reflected today with how members of the Royal family and their descendants are styled.

The present Dukes of Gloucester and Kent are grandsons of a sovereign (George V).  They are royal.  Their children are not.   Their eldest sons are styled as the Earls of Ulster and St. Andrews.  Their daughters are styled as daughters of a duke: Lady Davina, Lady Rose, and Lady Helen Windsor.  The Duke of Kent's younger son is styled as the younger son of a Duke: Lord Nicholas Windsor.

These two royal dukedoms will cease to be royal when the peerages pass to their heirs apparent.  The new dukes will be addressed as Your Grace.

The children of the Duke of Kent's younger brother, Prince Michael, who is not a peer, are styled as a younger son of a duke and a daughter of a duke:  Lord Frederick and Lady Gabriella Windsor.

This brings us back to the 1917 Letters Patent.  George V's children were born with the princely title so why limit the royal style for the children of the next eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

Perhaps for George V, Victoria's long reign was an anomaly, which would not be repeated any time soon so he saw no reason to include royal status for all of the children of the sons of the Prince of Wales.  He may have assumed that the Prince of Wales would have succeeded to the throne before he had grandchildren.  Yet, there is the example of his own children -- the first three -- and how their status was changed by Queen Victoria, their great-grandmother.

King Edward VII reigned for only nine years.  He was sixty-eight when he died on May 6, 1910.    His eldest male line grandson,  Prince Edward of Wales, was a month short of his 16th birthday at the time of King Edward's death.  King George V lived to celebrate his Silver Jubilee in May 1935.  He died on January 20, 1936, at the age of 70, and was succeeded by his eldest son, David, who reigned as Edward VIII until December 11, 1936, when he abdicated and was succeeded by his brother, Bertie (George VI).

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The eldest male line grandchildren at the time of King George V's death was Princess Elizabeth of York, the nine-year-old daughter of the Duke of York.  She was third in line to the throne at the time of "Grandpa England's death."

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George VI was only 56 years old when he died on February 6, 1952.   His elder daughter, HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, succeeded him as queen.  At the time of his death,  George VI had only one male line grandson,  HRH Prince Charles of Edinburgh, who was was then only three years old.

The 1917 Letters Patent did not provide for the possibility of a female heir in the male line so in 1948, not long before Princess Elizabeth gave birth to Prince Charles, George VI issued a Letters Patent that gave royal status to her children.

Whitehall, November 9, 1948.
The KING has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm bearing date the 22nd ultimo to define and fix the style and title by which the children of the marriage solemnized between Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, shall be designated. It is declared by the Letters Patent that the children of the aforesaid marriage shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style title or attribute of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names in addition to any other appellations and titles of honour which may belong to them hereafter.

Without this Letters Patent,  Charles and Anne would have been styled as the Earl of Merioneth and the Lady Anne Mountbatten, taking their titles and rank from their father, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, until Elizabeth succeeded to the throne.

The 1917 Letters Patent has not been superseded except for one clause, which I will refer to shortly.

Queen Elizabeth II has three sons so the grandchildren in the male line are princes and princesses with the rank of royal highness.   Yes, the children of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, are STYLED  as Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn, but they are technically royal as the Queen never issued a Letters Patent that changed how male-line grandchildren are styled.

On April 29, 2011, Prince William of Wales, eldest son of the Prince of Wales, became the first male grandson of the living Sovereign to marry since July 6, 1893, when Prince George, Duke of York (George V) married Princess Mary of Teck.   Fast forward to December 33, 2012, when Kensington Palace announces that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child in the summer of 2013.

Royal advisers blew the dust off the 1917 Letters Patent and read the bit about the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales having royal status, but ducal status for siblings.  What if the Duchess gives birth to a daughter?  The new Succession to the Crown Act, which would establish the succession of the firstborn, regardless of sex, was moving closer to final passage and a Royal Assent (which came in April 2013.)

A daughter, even first in line, would be styled as the Lady Christian name Mountbatten-Windsor.   A younger son would be HRH Prince Christian name of Cambridge. 

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 A solution was found as the Queen issued a new Letters Patent in December 2012 that gave royal status to all of the children of the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

"The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 31 December 2012 to declare that all the children of the eldest son of The Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour."

Please notice the subtle difference in the wording between the 2012 and 1898 Letters Patents.   The newer one refers to the Prince of Wales, which Victoria states any Prince of Wales.

But what about the status of the male-line grandchildren of younger sons of the Prince of Wales?  Bertie had only one surviving son, George when he succeeded to the throne.  George's kids were styled as royal highnesses thanks to great-granny's 1898 Letters Patent.

The present Prince of Wales has two sons, two male-line grandchildren of the Queen.  The 2012 Letters Patent only refers to the eldest son's children and not the children of younger sons of the Prince of Wales.   Was this Letters Patent a not-so-subtle statement that the children of younger sons of the Prince of Wales would not be royal even if they were born when their grandmother, the Queen was still alive?

The downsizing of the Royal Family has been a topic of discussion since the late 1990s with the now-defunct Way Ahead group, which included seniors of the Royal Family and advisers.   I expect it was decided a long time ago that the RH and the title of Prince or Princess will be further limited when Charles succeeds to the throne.

I believe he will issue a new Letters Patent that will limit the royal titles to the children of the sovereign,  the children of the eldest child of the Sovereign, and the children of the eldest child of the eldest child of the Sovereign.   (I used the eldest child rather than Prince or Princess of Wales) as it has not been determined on how a female heir apparent will be styled.)

The announcement on the morning of Prince Edward's wedding in June 1999 that stated his new titles and the style and titles of any possible children was necessary because of the 1917 Letters Patent.  Louise and James are grandchildren in the male line, and thus, would have been styled as HRH and Princess and Prince if not for the official announcement that they would be styled as children of an earl.

(Several years ago, in an interview, their mother, Sophie, told a reporter that she knew that her kids were royal, despite their style.)

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No such announcement was needed for the Duke of Sussex's children because the 1917 Letters Patent states that great-grandchildren in the male line (except for the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales)  .... shall have the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes.

Harry's eldest son will be styled as the Earl of Dumbarton.  Daughters and younger sons will have the courtesy title Lady and Lord before their Christian names.   If the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have only daughters,  the peerages will revert to the Crown when Harry dies.  The Succession to the Crown Act applies solely to the succession to the throne.   Parliament has been unable to pass gender-equal legislation for succession to peerages.

[update: May 8, 2019.  The Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a son, Archie Harrison on May 6.  The Duke and Duchess have decided that he will not be styled for as the Earl of Dumbarton, but Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.]

Queen Elizabeth's 2012 Letters Patent focused on the children of the eldest son, not the children of all the sons of the Prince of Wales.   If  Charles and the Queen wanted Harry's future children to be royal as well, the 2012 Letters Patent would have established the HRH and title Prince for the children of all of the sons of the Prince of Wales, instead of focusing on fixing the issue with the other children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. Within the royal house, it has probably been known for some time that Harry's children will not be royal.

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